Dress Barn 4Q Profit Down 9%

Suffern, N.Y. Dress Barn Inc. said Wednesday its fiscal fourth-quarter profit declined 9% as same-store sales dropped 2% amid a continued pullback in consumer spending.

Earnings for the quarter ended July 26 fell to $22.1 million, down from $33.6 million in the same quarter the previous year.

Dress Barn said revenue rose less than 1% to $382.3 million from $379.9 million in the same period last year.

Same-store sales fell 2% during the period, after rising 5% in the same period last year.

Same-store sales for Dressbarn stores dropped 5%, while same-store sales at the company's maurices stores gained 4%.

For the year, earnings fell nearly 27% to $74.1 million down from $101.2 million in the prior year.

Same-store sales were down 3% while net sales rose slightly to $1.44 billion, up from $1.43 billion in the same period last year.

The full-year results reflect a challenging retail environment, president and CEO David R. Jaffe said in a statement. He said the company can't avoid the slumping marketplace but it has improved its business model to be more responsive, including having more inventory controls to reduce exposure to markdowns.

For the year, Dressbarn stores’ same-store sales fell 7% while same-store sales at maurices rose 4%.

Jaffe said Dressbarn is seeing improvement due to marketing and reinforcing the store's "value message." He said that while the start of the back-to-school season at maurices has been softer than the company expected, it was well-positioned in the current retail environment.

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